Boarding and Alighting Experiments: Overview of Setup and Performance and Some Preliminary Results

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - capacity, operations - performance, organisation - performance, mode - rail, mode - pedestrian


Video cameras, Rail transit, Pedestrian movement, Luggage, Experiments, Experimentation, Dwell time, Door capacity, Design of experiments, Crossing The Road, Camcorders, Boarding and alighting, Baggage


Vehicle dwell time is an important determinant of the system performance and passenger service quality of public transport systems. Adequate prediction models for vehicle dwell time are required in timetable planning and in pedestrian simulation tools to optimize station design and rolling stock design. Because most of the dwell time is consumed by boarding and alighting, this paper focuses on increasing insight into boarding and alighting behavior in railroad vehicles by performing laboratory experiments using video cameras. The experiments test the effects of the physical environment (stepping gap, height difference, and door width), population (age, gender), flow composition (direction, time pressure, luggage, boarding group size, boarding ratio, queuing discipline), and prevailing traffic conditions (crowding on board and crowding on the platform). From the video images, pedestrian trajectories (movements over time) have been derived. This paper describes the effects of the size of the horizontal and vertical gap and the presence of luggage on the door capacity. Door capacities have been estimated by using headway distributions and cumulative curves. Increasing the horizontal and vertical gap leads to decreases in the capacity (up to 15%). When passengers with luggage (suitcases) are present, the capacity decreases more (up to 25%).